Should a First Time Shooter Start with a Rifle or Pistol?

Rifle or pistol cover

 Hello, Concealed Coalition, Austin Davis here, and thank you for sending in your questions. If you have a question you’d like to ask, just text me at 713-528-8411.

This week’s question is awesome: “Austin, should a first time shooter start with a rifle or pistol?”

First Important Consideration Isn’t Rifle or Pistol…It’s Safety

First things first, if you’re a new shooter choosing a weapon, whether it’s a rifle or pistol, we’ll want to make sure you’re briefed on the most important thing. And that’s not “rifle or pistol.” It’s safety.

Safety has to be ingrained in everyone, every time a firearm is picked up and handled. Why? Because anytime we pick up a firearm, whether it’s a rifle or pistol, we’re literally making a life and death decision. So before we even talk about “rifle or pistol,” let’s talk about making sure we have good safety taught and practiced with every manipulation.

Where do you learn firearm safety? Concealed Coalition has online and local firearms training, including safety skills, throughout the U.S. Enter your ZIP code here for classes near you or online. Also, know inside and out these four rules of firearm safety.

Second Important Consideration: What’s the Outcome You’re Looking For?

Now, whether you want to start off with a rifle or pistol, that’s not the most important question. The most important question is what outcome are you looking for? If you’re trying to become a hunter or casual plinker, I think it’s easier to teach on a rifle, especially a small caliber rifle.

But if time is not on our side and economics aren’t on our side, you may want to start with a pistol. 

Third Important Consideration: Make Sure You Get a Rifle or Pistol That Fits You

Rifle or Pistol fitment
When deciding whether you want a rifle or a pistol a a first-time shooter, it’s important to assess whether or not the weapon fits you.

Before you start with a pistol, make sure you understand that all hands are different. So make sure you get a handgun that fits you. How do we know if a gun fits?

First, don’t just make an assumption of fit because as a beginner, you won’t really be able to tell. I recommend working with someone experienced who can help you assess aspects like:

  • Being able to move all the controls
  • Being able to feel both sides of the trigger with your index finger when you put your finger on the trigger without taking your grip off a master angle

So, Do You Start with a Rifle or Pistol?

In summary, there are three considerations to make when you ask this question:

  1. The type of firearm decision always takes a back seat to safety.
  2. Which firearm you choose depends on the outcome you want.
  3. No matter which you go with, fit is incredibly important.

Rifle? Pistol? Both are good. If it’s for hunting, go with the rifle. If it’s for defense, start off with the pistol. But in both cases, make sure you’re safe and the gun fits you.

And remember: Be a Guardian Always and a Warrior When Needed.

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